Telex from William Davis to Jean Chrétien, Duke Redbird, et al re Aboriginal Rights (20 November 1981)
By: William Davis, Government of Ontario
Citation: Telex from William Davis to Jean Chrétien, Duke Redbird, et al (20 November 1981).
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GQA606 NOV 20 1342 EST
MIGA PLAN TOR
TX 0533603 JUSTICE OTT
TO: THE HONOURABLE JEAN CHRETIEN
ONTARIO METIS AND NON-STATUS INDIAN ASSOCIATION
NATIVE COUNCIL OF CANADA OFFICES OTTAWA ONTARIO
This is pursuant to your telex of November 10 and the tabling earlier this week by the government of Canada of the constitutional resolution in the House of Commons.
As you know, the Government of Ontario stood along with the Government of New Brunswick in support of the federal resolution which provided for Aboriginal rights.
In a letter on May 7, 1981, our Attorney General Communicated technical advice to the Attorney General for Canada indicating our desire that careful effort be made to provide thoughtful definition to the Aboriginal rights provision so that it did not lead to misunderstandings in the future.
This technical concern in no way limited or limits out support for the inclusion of Section 34 in the charter. Any interpretation to the contrary would be a serious misrepresentation of what has been and remains a clear commitment by the Government of Ontario.
Ontario remains committed to the accord signed on November 5. However, to the extent there is a significant opportunity prior to the end of the debate in Ottawa to influence those who do not support the current provisions for women’s rights and the inclusion of aboriginal rights, we will be endeavoring to do so. The view expressed by the Prime Minister that urges all members of Parliament to respect the accord during the debate is one with which we associate ourselves as a government. We share the view, there fore, that the government of Canada should not make or approve any amendments to the resolution as presented Wednesday without consulting fully with the other nine partners to [text illegible] Native Canadians have been pursuing a creative and thoughtful definition process with respect to Aboriginal rights. As if the case with all rights in the Charter … and with the Constitution itself … these rights will continue to evolve in the months and years ahead as Canadian society changes and develops.
While the Government of Ontario was pleased to be part of the November 5 Accord achieved between nine of the provinces and the federal government, we do express our sincere regret that Aboriginal rights were excluded from that agreement.
We believed that Section 34 in the original federal resolution was an improvement beginning to sorting out some of these difficulties in the months and years ahead. We held that view, alone with New Brunswick, for almost a year, since it was first included in the resolution.
We shall continue to hold that view. We remain committed to the principle of entrenching rights for both women and Native peoples.
With every good wish.
WILLIAM G. DAVIS
PREMIER OF ONTARIO
C.C. THE RIGHT HONOURABLE PIERRE E. TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JOE CLARK, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MR. EDWARD BROADBENT LEADER OF THE N.D.P.
ALL PROVINCIAL PREMIERS
ALL MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
THAT THE RIGHT HONOURABLE P.E. TRUDEAU